Tales of Hoffman: Abbie And Julius And The Chicago Conspiracy Trial

Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection.

Short trailer for an uncompleted documentary about two controversial figures in the Chicago Conspiracy trial, both named Hoffman: activist Abbie Hoffman and U.S. District Court Judge Julius Hoffman. One of the underlying concepts is that these two diametrically opposed characters were intertwined as people and as courtroom adversaries. The story is told mostly through interviews with various persons involved in the trial, plus some archival footage of the Democratic convention of 1968 (both of the actual convention and the associated riots on the Chicago streets), the Vietnam War, and various press conferences.

0:00Copy video clip URL Various short archival clips, including an Abbie Hoffman interview, Julius Hoffman, the 1968 Democratic Convention, the riots surrounding the convention, and war footage from Vietnam, all with voice over about Abbie and Julius Hoffman and history of Chicago Conspiracy Trial.

1:34Copy video clip URL Defense attorney Leonard Weinglass talks about Abbie Hoffman.

1:52Copy video clip URL John Froines, defendant. “It’s a mistake to view the trial as a legal, criminal trial associated with events that occurred in Chicago at a particular time. It was a trial that reflected the politics and social issues of the ’60s, and that’s the way one has to see it. And to debate the narrow definitions of whether we did this or that in Lincoln Park is to miss the forest for the trees.”

2:12Copy video clip URL Archival footage of a 1970 press conference with Leonard Weinglass. He then talks about the insanity of the laws.

2:42Copy video clip URL Archival footage of U.S. Attorney, Thomas Foran speaking at a press conference. He is defining the term “conspiracy.”

2:57Copy video clip URL Author John Schultz, the leading expert on the Chicago events in 1968 and the Conspiracy Trial which followed, says the substance of the crime was a “state of mind.”

3:12Copy video clip URL Archival footage of a 1969 Abbie Hoffman interview, in which Hoffman is holding what appears to be a bomb.

3:17Copy video clip URL Weinglass talks about advising Hoffman.

4:35Copy video clip URL Hoffman makes jokes in archival footage of a press conference, referring to LSD guru Timothy Leary.

4:45Copy video clip URL Various people describe Hoffman’s seemingly spontaneous acts as “strategic.”

5:27Copy video clip URL Courtroom sketch artist Verna Sadock describes Hoffman’s genius for manipulating publicity. On a day when damaging evidence had been revealed, Hoffman used an unusual strategy to minimize the effects of this news. He asked Sadock to sketch him and proceeded to stand on his head in the middle of the courtroom during an intermission. The next day, the press was full of the picture of Hoffman, but there was little mention of the problematic evidence.

6:10Copy video clip URL Hoffman says there is no way they will get a fair trial, and that the public needs to rise up and oppose the trial.

6:37Copy video clip URL Archival footage of Julius Hoffman giving a speech and getting a resounding applause. People describe Julius as the embodiment of the establishment.

9:32Copy video clip URL Sadock says the judge didn’t pick on Abbie that much because he was fascinated by him. Others talk about the relationship between the two men. They talk about the two men’s Judaism. People talk about all they learned from Abbie Hoffman.

12:31Copy video clip URL Credits.

12:48Copy video clip URL End of tape.



  1. leslie says:

    This is fabulous – thank you…

  2. leslie says:

    P.s. I was the lucky one who took Abs to the Standard Club that day – I’m still laughing…

  3. Bob Boldt says:

    Here’s my footage from the Convention


  4. Lovely. Terrific. Thanks Tom and Joel and Bob.
    Especially great to see after seeing the Netflix attempt.


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